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FAQ's: OZONE SWIMMING POOLS and SPA BATHS

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1) What is ozone?

Ozone is a highly reactive and unstable form of oxygen. Ozone is made up of three oxygen atoms together, written as O3. It is called activated tri-atomic oxygen. It is a gas and is denser than air. Ozone is the second most powerful sterilant in the world and it destroys bacteria, viruses and odors. Ozone is nature's way of purifying the air we breathe. It is the distinctive “electric” odour smelled during and after thunderstorms. Ozone derives from the Greek word ozein, which means to smell. If natural ozone ceased to exist, life on this planet would also cease to exist.


2) Is ozone a new technology?

Ozone has been around as long as oxygen, sunshine and lightning. It was discovered and isolated in 1840 by C. F. Schonbein during some electrical sparking and electrolysis experiments. In 1886 de Meritens of France conducted the first experiments using this unique gas as a disinfectant. He proved that minute amounts of ozone would sterilize polluted water. Since then drinking water treatment plants and bottling plants using ozone have been established through out the world. Ozone has been used in swimming pools and spas in European countries since the early 1950's and in the United States since about 1975.


3) How is Ozone Made?

As ozone is highly unstable it cannot be stored and is therefore produced on site. The most common and efficient way to produce ozone is corona-discharge using a high voltage. The energy injected breaks up oxygen molecules into individual oxygen atoms which recombine in a highly energised state as ozone (O3). The source gas can be either ambient air or oxygen. When pure oxygen is used much higher concentrations of ozone can be produced.


4) How does ozone work?

Ozone destroys bacteria, organisms and viruses by ripping open the cell wall from the outside, causing the cell's contents to fall apart. This process is called cell lysing. Once it has done its job of oxidation, ozone reverts back to oxygen (O2). This additional oxygen in the water makes it taste good, smell good and gives it a sparkle. There are no toxic or hazardous byproducts.


5) What will Ozone Destroy?

Ozone kills bacteria, viruses, spores, mold, mildew, fungi, amoeba and cysts. Various factors play a role in effectiveness of ozone in the removal of contaminants, such as the amount of ozone, the concentration of ozone, and the contact time of ozone with the organism. Additional sanitizer must be added to the water to kill algae and provide protection during the time the ozone generator is not on.


6) Is Ozone an Oxidizer?

The easy answer is Yes. Ozone oxidizes at a rate of nearly 3000 times that of chlorine, and is nearly twice as powerful. Ozone will also oxidize metals such as iron and manganese, as well as the bonds of many colour-producing contaminants like decaying leaves and grass. Once the bond is broken, the colour disappears.


7) What are the benefits of using ozone?


8) Can I stop using Chlorine/Bromine?

You will definitely reduce the chemical usage in your pool up to 90% depending on weather conditions and pool characteristics. Ozone provides better water quality and oxidizes many contaminants that chlorine/Bromine cannot. However, Ozone only lasts in pool water for a short period of time (15-30 minutes) therefore in order to provide lasting protection during times when ozone is not being injected you should maintain a small residual of bromine or chlorine in the water.The longer the ozone system operates, the less chlorine or bromine you will have to use to maintain water quality.


9) How does ozone get into the water?

Ozone is a gas and it is only slightly soluble in water. It must be thoroughly mixed in water to help dissolve it. Only in the dissolved state can the chemical reactions with contaminants can take place. The most common way in swimming pools is with a venturi injector, which is installed in the return line to the pool. The injector’s diameter is smaller in the middle so water travelling into the injector begins to move faster. In the middle of the injector there is a small hole. As water is pumped past the hole, a vacuum is created. The amount of vacuum is dependent on the amount of water flow through the injector – more water equals more vacuum. If a small flexible hose or tube is attached to this small hole, a liquid or gas can be drawn into the injector and mixed into the water.The goal is to make the smallest bubbles possible and to keep the bubbles in contact with the water for as long as possible. The ozone that does get dissolved will kill or oxidise anything in the water.


10) How long will ozone last in my pool?

Because of its short half-life, ozone will begin to decay soon after it is produced. The half life of ozone in water is about 30 minutes, which means that every half hour the ozone concentration will be reduced to half its initial concentration. In practice the half-life is shorter for numerous reasons. Factors are temperature, pH, metal content of water and contamination of water.


11) Will the temperature or humidity of the air or water affect ozone?

The temperature and humidity of the air will directly impact on the concentration of ozone gas produced. The more humid and the hotter the air, the less concentrated the ozone produced will be. Likewise the temperature of the water has a similar effect, the cooler the water the ozone is injected into, the more effective the ozone will be at removing contaminants! Heated pools require 10-15% more ozone than traditional pools.


12) Is ozone safe?

Ozone has been documented for over a century now, so quite a lot is known about it. OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Agency has stipulated that the safe allowable level of residual ozone is .08 ppm in air. This permissible level is for continuous exposure throughout an entire 8 hour day for 5 days a week. Ozone has an unmistakable strong "sweet" odor, so you can always know if too much is present in the air. An ozone generator, when used correctly will not exceed guidelines for continuous safe exposure. If the ozone level is much higher than is recommended to be consider safe, it would become so pungent that anyone could sense it. Ozone does this by becoming so offensive at high levels that we would not be able to stay in the environment for more than a very short period. This is much like what would happen if we entered a smoke filled room. No one has ever claimed a worker's related illness resulting from ozone exposure


13) Is ozone safe for my pool equipment?

Most pool systems these days come supplied with plumbing that is ozone-resistant eg. PVC piping. However, Ozone gas can corrode metal and other materials such as nylon and rubber. Care must be taken to check that all plumbing and piping between the injection point ( Venturi Injector ) and the point of entry to the pool are made of ozone-resistant materials. All our MightyZone systems are supplied with ozone-resistant accessories


14) Is ozone safe for swimmers?

Ozone dissolved in the water is pH neutral so it will not affect the of the water. The amount of ozone added to the water is enough to kill bacteria, virus, cysts, mold and spores, but is safe and non-toxic to humans and pets - no red, irritated eyes and dry, itchy skin. When properly installed and plumbed most of the ozone generated will be dissolved in the water or used up oxidizing impurities in your water.


15) Does ozone affect water balance?

Ozone has a neutral pH (about 7.0) so it has no direct affect on pH level. Ozone has no calcium, no alkalinity, and no dissolved solids. Therefore, ozone does not affect water balance. It does remove trace amounts of metals such as iron or copper by oxidising them to their highest oxidation state. They will then precipitate out of the water and be trapped by your filter.


16) Can I run my pump and filter for fewer hours?

Ozone is only injected into your water when the pump is running. The longer you run the ozone generator (and your pump and filter), the better your resultant water quality will be and thereby reducing the need for residual chemicals. During summer / swimming season you should run your ozone generator, pump and filter a minimum of 12 hours each day. We recommend that you run your pump for 24hrs a day in summer. Up to 80% of the water treatment is done by your filter, so dont be afraid to use it. The extra electricity cost will be compensated by the savings on costly chemicals.


17) Will there be a visible change to my water?

Yes! When ozone is first introduced into your pool water and during the first 72 hours, your pool water may get cloudy. Ozone will begin to oxidise all of those particles and metals that your present sanitizer would otherwise leave in your pool. When these particles are oxidized, they form visible particles that are heavier than water and precipitate. Also, there will be pieces or fragments of the cells that ozone has destroyed. The cloudiness that you may see is oxidized material. As it continues to be exposed to ozone the polarisation is broken down as ozone neutralizes these charges, which allows the particles to combine into large enough particles to be trapped by the filter. Once these particles are oxidized, neutralized and filtered, the oxygen rich water will have a definite "clarity and sparkle" that you may not have experienced before. In addition, after the ozone does its work, it reverts back to oxygen. This added oxygen will make the water look, feel and even taste better.


18) How must i prepare my pool before i install an ozone generator?


19) What special maintenance does an ozone pool require?


20) What special maintenance does a MightyZone ozone generator require?


21) How do I know if there is enough ozone for proper sanitation?

This can be a difficult question to answer. Experts have not been able to develop a minimum or maximum level for ozone in swimming pool water because of the multiple variables involved such as air temperature, water temperature, humidity and bather load. Pool owners who have been using chlorine of bromine for a few seasons know how much sanitizer they use in a season or year. Installing an ozone generator in these pools has resulted in a significant reduction in the amount of chemical sanitizer used. The longer the ozone operates each day, the greater the reduction in chemical sanitizers. Pool owners have had reductions in sanitizer use of 50 to 90%. Your savings may vary based on pool usage factors. The MightyZone selected for your pool has been arrived at by field tests, best available information from other industries like drinking water,water-cooling towers and extensive lab testing. Ozone is not sold on the basis of being less expensive than other sanitizers such as chlorine and bromine are. Its value is in smoothness and sparkle to the pool water, elimination of the dry, itchy skin that chemicals can produce burning red eyes and bleached bathing suits. Other important advantages include reduced pool maintenance and reduced exposure to toxic chemicals in storing, handling and swimming.


22) Will my ozone generator help the ozone layer?

Ozone from a swimming pool ozone system will not add anything to the atmosphere or the ozone layer. When injected into the water properly, no ozone escapes into the atmosphere. Even if it does get into our atmosphere, it is like a drop in the ocean. Also, the ozone would have to be transported 9 to 18 miles up. The ozone layer that you may have heard about is a layer of mostly oxygen and ozone that is located in the lower stratosphere between altitudes of 9 and 18 miles. This ozone results almost entirely from oxygen (O2) splitting apart into two atoms of oxygen (O) by solar ultraviolet radiation (the sun's UV rays) and then combining with molecular oxygen (O2) to form ozone (O3). Atmospheric ozone plays a critical role for the earth by absorbing the ultraviolet radiation from the sun with a wavelength of between 240 and 320 nanometers (nm), which would otherwise be transmitted to the Earth's surface. This radiation is responsible for sunburn to human skin. In addition, the incidence of skin cancer has been statistically correlated with UV light intensities of 290 to 320 nm.



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